Nation of prayer: D-M unites in giving thanks

355th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Kent Laughbaum awards Dr. Dave Roever a commander's coin in appreciation for his sacrifice, dedication, loyalty and continued motivational messages to troops around the world.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alesia Goosic)

355th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Kent Laughbaum awards Dr. Dave Roever a commander's coin in appreciation for his sacrifice, dedication, loyalty and continued motivational messages to troops around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alesia Goosic)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- More than 300 Airmen, base leaders and their families united at the Mirage Officers Club here May 7 for the 2007 National Prayer Breakfast where Veteran Dr. Dave Roever shared his miraculous life story "Tragedy to Triumph."

After 355th Fighter Wing Commander, Col. Kent Laughbaum greeted guests and introduced Dr. Roever, his humor, enthusiasm, humility, courageous recovery and unwavering faith captivated the audience. 

Dr. Roever told the audience that he joined the Navy after receiving his draft notice at the height of the Vietnam War. Eight months into his tour of duty, he was burned beyond recognition when a phosphorous grenade exploded in his hand. 

After spending 14 months in a hospital recovering from major surgery, he told a story about a hospital worker. He didn't know his name, but he said it must have been "R.O.S.I.E." because it was tattooed plainly on his arm, dots between each letter. He said it seemed wherever he turned, there was R.O.S.I.E, helping him through his intense pain and suffering.

"I saw him pray for me and I felt the strength flow through my body," Dr. Roever said. "All R.O.S.I.E. would reply is, 'Youll be fine, big man, you'll be fine.'"

He said at first he thought R.O.S.I.E. must have been an angel because he wept for him, prayed for him and carried him, like a baby in his arms, to his treatments. 

But then he said, he decided R.O.S.I.E. was not an angel on an assignment after all, but simply a man on a mission. 

"At one point I was willing to let my faith become operative in my life, and it did; it worked, even when under fire," Dr. Roever said.

"We can't get through life alone," he said. "We need family, friends and faith - faith being last, because it's our foundation. Nothing is going to stop you when you have your triangle in place," he said. 

"I made it because somebody cared. If I didn't give up when I hurt, neither should you. Every day, something good WILL happen.
 
"I dont ever want to be more than an arms-length away (from our troops)," he said.